Week 15 NFL Power Rankings: Kansas City Returns to the Top of the AFC

0
70
Patrick Mahomes fired up after beating the Chargers (Photo by Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP Photo)

For the first time this season, the NFL was forced to make changes to their schedule due to COVID outbreaks. Kansas City’s monumental win over the Chargers was almost a week ago. Now that they’ve returned to the top seed in the AFC, where do they land this week? Here are the power rankings for Week 15 of the NFL season.

32. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-12) (Eliminated) Prev: 30

Once again, the off-the-field stories dominated the week for Jacksonville. Urban Meyer was fired, and all it took was an allegation from former kicker Josh Lambo of physically abusing his players. On top of that, the loss this week puts them in line for the first overall pick for the second year in a row.

Team MVP: James Robinson (75 yds, TD)

Next: at Jets

31. Houston Texans (3-11) (Eliminated) Prev: 32

Houston got their third win of the season this week. It’s their second win over Jacksonville and Davis Mills’ first win in a start. Good for Mils, as he has played pretty well, but the wins just have not come.

Team MVP: Brandin Cooks (7 rec, 102 yds, 2 TDs)

Next: vs Chargers

30. New York Jets (3-11) (Eliminated) Prev: 29

As everybody knows, when the fans chant J.E.T.S. they’re chanting “Just end the season!” It was more pain for the Jets this week, as they lost to the Dolphins. Although, they did have a pretty cool play where they lateraled it to Braxton Berrios for a first down.

Team MVP: Brandin Echols (4 tackles, INT, TD)

Next: vs Jaguars

29. Chicago Bears (4-10) (Eliminated) Prev: 27

The Bears have officially been eliminated, which should seal matt Nagy’s fate. Fans have been clamoring for the coach to be fired since last season when the Bears fell backward into the playoffs. Hopefully, the next coach can use Justin Fields to his potential.

Team MVP: Akiem Hicks (5 tackles, 2 sacks)

Next: at Seahawks

28. New York Giants (4-10) Prev: 28

The only reason the Giants haven’t been eliminated yet is that they have one more conference win than the Bears. They would need several miracles to even think about making the playoffs, and they will likely be eliminated next week. Daniel Jones has been shut down for the season, which doesn’t help their case either.

Team MVP: Lorenzo Carter (4 tackles, 2 sacks)

Next: at Eagles

27. Detroit Lions (2-11-1) (Eliminated) Prev: 31

What the heck happened here? The Lions got the win over the Cardinals, in what will likely go down as the upset of the entire season. Sure, they’re out of playoff contention, and now they’ve lost the top pick in the draft. So why not ruin the playoff picture a little bit? The Lions have nothing to lose at this point.

Team MVP: Craig Reynolds (112 yds)

Next: at Falcons

26. Carolina Panthers (5-9) Prev: 26

Carolina isn’t eliminated yet, but that will likely be coming in the next two weeks. Cam Newton is still running well, but he isn’t showing the arm talent to be the Panthers’ quarterback next season. He could pass as a gimmick player, however.

Team MVP: Yetur Gross-Matos (5 tackles, 2.5 sacks)

Next: vs Buccaneers

25. Seattle Seahawks (5-9) Prev: 25

Seattle was on a two-game winning streak, and with the credibility they’ve gained over the years, we thought they could give themselves a chance. Instead, they’ve now clinched their first losing season since 2011. The Seahawks appear to be headed towards elimination as well.

Team MVP: Carlos Dunlap (4 tackles, 3 sacks)

Next: vs Bears

24. Atlanta Falcons (6-8) Prev: 24

Atlanta took a loss to the 49ers on Sunday. A win would have propelled them into the playoff picture, but they now have a lot of ground to make up. Don’t expect to see the Falcons in the playoffs, although this season has been a step in the right direction for Atlanta.

Team MVP: Russell Gage (8 rec, 91 yds, TD)

Next: vs Lions

23. Washington Football Team (6-8) Prev: 17

Washington had a playoff spot, but they have choked it away, losing their last two games. Those teams that had been breathing down their neck have now surpassed them. They were forced to play Garrett Gilbert, who had just signed off New England’s practice squad, which is not ideal for a key matchup like this one.

Team MVP: Landon Collins (6 tackles, INT)

Next: at Cowboys

22. Denver Broncos (7-7) Prev: 16

Denver had built a lot of momentum for themselves after a win last week, but a loss to the Bengals puts them in a tough spot. They have the worst conference record out of every 7-7 in the AFC and will need a lot of help to make it to the playoffs. Add in an injury to Teddy Bridgewater, and the Broncos may as well be eliminated already.

Team MVP: Justin Simmons (4 tackles, 2 sacks)

Next: at Raiders

21. Cleveland Browns (7-7) Prev: 14

Cleveland is in the same boat as Denver. After a big win, COVID forced the Browns to start Nick Mullens since neither Baker Mayfield nor Case Keenum could play. The Browns are now near the bottom of the many 7-7 AFC teams due to their conference record. They will need some help to get into the playoffs.

Team MVP: Nick Chubb (91 yds, TD)

Next: at Packers

20. Philadelphia Eagles (7-7) Prev: 20

The Eagles got a big win over Washington to put them right in the middle of the NFC playoff picture. They’re currently right on the bubble looking in at the rest of the NFC but have the same record as the seventh seed Vikings. The offense is peaking at the right time, lead by a great rushing attack with Miles Sanders and Jalen Hurts.

Team MVP: Jalen Hurts (20/26, 296 yds, TD, INT, 38 rush yds, 2 TDs)

Next: vs Giants

19. Las Vegas Raiders (7-7) Prev: 18

The Raiders got a win to keep themselves alive. They barely got by a Browns team that was decimated by COVID. The Raiders may be in the hunt, but don’t expect them to be anywhere near the playoffs. They’ll get a make-or-break game next week.

Team MVP: Jonathan Abram (9 tackles, 2 TFLs)

Next: vs Broncos

18. Miami Dolphins (7-7) Prev: 21

Miami has now brought itself back to .500 after a rough start to the season. Their schedule got a lot easier throughout their entire win streak, but any team can beat anybody any given Sunday. Miami is firmly in the hunt, but their schedule gets a little harder starting next week.

Team MVP: Duke Johnson (107 yds, 2 TDs)

Next: at Saints

17. Pittsburgh Steelers (7-6-1) Prev: 19

Pittsburgh kept itself alive with a big win over the Titans. They will need to keep winning, as they are just on the outside looking in. However, next week’s opponent will make that task very difficult.

Team MVP: TJ Watt (5 tackles, 1.5 sacks, fumble recovery)

Next: at Chiefs

16. New Orleans Saints (7-7) Prev: 22

New Orleans has just revived their season with yet another win over Tom Brady’s Buccaneers. This time, they shut the Bucs out, which brought their defense’s dominance into the spotlight. The Vikings hold the seventh seed for now, but the Saints are lurking and playing very well with a great run game and stifling defense.

Team MVP: Cameron Jordan (5 tackles, 2 sacks)

Next: vs Dolphins

15. Minnesota Vikings (7-7) Prev: 23

It was pretty ugly, but the Vikings got the win over the Bears. Kirk Cousins didn’t reach 100 yards against a roughed-up Bears secondary, but he didn’t need to. Minnesota now holds the seventh seed in the NFC, but with their next opponent, they may not have it for long.

Team MVP: DJ Wonnum (8 tackles, 3 sacks)

Next: vs Rams

14. Los Angeles Chargers (8-6) Prev: 10

The Chargers had a chance to make a play for the AFC West but fell to Kansas City in overtime. Tight end Donald Parham suffered a very scary-looking concussion, but it looks like he’s not going to have any additional damage. The Chargers are still firmly in the AFC Wild Card picture, but the margin for error is getting smaller and smaller.

Team MVP: Keenan Allen (6 rec, 78 yds, TD)

Next: at Texans

13. Baltimore Ravens (8-6) Prev: 9

The Ravens didn’t have Lamar Jackson for their matchup with the Packers, but they were still able to stay stride for stride with them. Ultimately, a failed two-point conversion did the Ravens in once again. Baltimore now is outside of the FC playoff picture, but they will likely return to the playoff picture sooner rather than later.

Team MVP: Tyler Huntley (28/40, 215 yds, 2 TDs, 73 yds, 2 TDs)

Next: at Bengals

12. Cincnnati Bengals (8-6) Prev: 15

The Bengals got a win over the Broncos on Sunday. Combine that with the Ravens’ loss, and the Bengals now have the lead in the AFC North. The Bengals now have a matchup with the Ravens next week, and the winner will, in all likelihood, win the division.

Team MVP: Germaine Pratt (15 tackles, 0.5 sacks)

Next: vs Ravens

11. San Francisco 49ers (8-6) Prev: 13

San Francisco continues to solidify their playoff positioning with another win. Jimmy Garopollo continues to play well, and the Niners can run it with whoever they decide to put at running back. This team appears destined for the playoffs.

Team MVP: Jeff Wilson Jr (110 yds, TD)

Next: at Titans

10. Buffalo Bills (8-6) Prev: 12

The Bills mopped the floor with the Panthers this week. Buffalo now sets up another showdown with the Patriots to determine the fate of the AFC East this week. A loss here would not just eliminate any chance Buffalo would have of winning the AFC East but knock them out of the AFC playoffs.

Team MVP: Gabriel Davis (5 rec, 85 yds, 2 TDs)

Next: at Patriots

9. Tennessee Titans (9-5) Prev: 8

The Titans are in serious jeopardy of losing their grip on the AFC South. The Colts are white-hot, while the Titans’ banged-up offense has not been good enough to win games. They lost to Pittsburgh this week and have another tough opponent coming up this week.

Team MVP: D’Onta Foreman (108 yds)

Next: vs 49ers

8. New England Patriots (9-5) Prev: 4

New England was the latest team to fall victim to the Jonathan Taylor experience. The Pats got ran over by one of the MVP favorites, and they have now allowed the Bills to get back in the race for the AFC East. They get the chance to shut them back down this week.

Team MVP: Hunter Henry (6 rec, 77 yds, 2 TDs)

Next: vs Bills

7. Indianapolis Colts (8-6) Prev: 11

Jonathan Taylor may be unstoppable. The Colts’ running back ran straight through one of the top defenses in the league, building his case to be MVP. It may be tough for Taylor to win MVP if the Colts are a Wild Card team, but that may not be the case for too much longer if the Colts stay hot.

Team MVP: Jonathan Taylor (170 yds, TD)

Next: at Cardinals

6. Arizona Cardinals (10-4) Prev: 3

Oh no, Arizona. The Cardinals fell to the lowly Lions and were on the wrong side of the biggest upset of the season. For this to come in December, when teams are expected to be at their best, is not a good sign for Arizona’s chances going forward. The Cards need to bounce back fast if they want to have any shot at winning the NFC West.

Team MVP: Christian Kirk (9 rec, 94 yds, TD)

Next: vs Colts

5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (10-4) Prev: 2

The Bucs got shut out by their division rivals, the Saints. They also got a lot of players injured in this game, as Leonard Fournette went on injured reserve, and Mike Evans is week-to-week. On top of that, Chris Godwin is now out for the season. They will need to find a way to fill those large voids.

Team MVP: Lavonte David (11 tackles, sack)

Next: at Panthers

4. Kansas City Chiefs (10-4) Prev: 7

Somehow, even when it all looked bleak, we all knew it would come back to this. The Chiefs are once again the top seed in the AFC. The defense has picked it up over the last few weeks, and Patrick Mahomes looks like he has brought the offense back. We’ll see if they can sustain it to the end of the season.

Team MVP: Travis Kelce (10 rec, 191 yds, 2 TDs)

Next: vs Steelers

3. Los Angeles Rams (10-4) Prev: 6

The Rams took down Seattle once again, albeit with another shady pass interference no-call. They’ve worked their way to the same record as Arizona and will need some help to capture the NFC West. They may get that help when Arizona matches up with Jonathan Taylor and the Colts.

Team MVP: Cooper Kupp (9 rec 136 yds, 2 TDs)

Next: at Vikings

2. Dallas Cowboys (10-4) Prev: 5

Dallas, despite all their talent on offense, is more of a defensive juggernaut than offensive. Micah Parsons and Trevon Diggs both have cases for defensive player of the year, and this unit is playing very well. Dallas has the NFC East all but wrapped up. Now we just wait for it to become mathematically impossible for the other teams to clinch.

Team MVP: Malik Hooker (6 tackles, INT)

Next: vs Washington

1. Green Bay Packers (11-3) Prev: 1

All of a sudden, Green Bay has the best record in the NFL. Aaron Rodgers has elevated himself to the MVP conversation as he led his team to a big win over the Ravens. The Packers have clinched the NFC North, and the only thing that may slow down Green Bay is their struggles in the NFC Championship game.

Team MVP: Aaron Rodgers (23/31, 268 yds, 3 TDs)

Next: vs Browns